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Christmas and New Year’s Mexican Traditions

If you’re planning to spend your holiday in Mexico this winter, prepare for some unique and exciting traditions. Travelers spending Christmas and New Year’s in Mexico will have a wonderful experience when it comes to activities, food, and all kind of festive events.

While you will find influences from other countries in the Mexican celebrations, especially from the US, Mexico has many cool and interesting holiday traditions of its own. Mexico is quite a Catholic country so many of its traditions are related to the Catholic Christmas story, however, the holiday spirit can be enjoyed regardless of faith.

Here are some of the most iconic traditions of the season.

#1 Las Posadas

Posada means “inn” or “lodging”. Children go from door to door singing and asking if there’s an open room at the “inn.” This is meant to represent the story of Mary and Joseph searching for shelter, but modern-day traditions feature a posada party at the end of each night. The Posadas take place from December 16th to the 24th. On each night of the Posadas, a different family holds a party, where there is food, drinks, piñatas, and music. The ninth evening of the posadas is Christmas Eve, where children lead a procession to the church and they place a figure of the Christ Child in the Nacimiento or nativity scene. Mexico is known for celebrations and a mariachi band can bring this festive time to life.

#2 Piñatas

​While piñatas are a Mexican tradition pretty well known for birthday parties, the tradition was actually born during the Christmas celebrations. These piñatas were traditionally made with a clay center and filled with fruit, though many kids now enjoy sweet treats and candies. A Christmas pinata has 7 spikes that represent the 7 sins. During the posadas, children hit the piñata to ‘break the sins’ and get a reward, the sweets.

#3 The food

As in everything else in Mexico, food is the star of these celebrations as well. During the posadas, traditional Mexican antojitos are served. From tacos, tostadas, pozole, gorditas, tamales, you can find a lot of traditional dishes prepared in many different ways. Ponche is the traditional beverage of the season, prepared with fruits like guavas, apples, tejocotes, tamarindo, pears, oranges, cinnamon, and cloves. During Christmas dinner, the traditional Mexican dishes served are romeritos, made with tender sprigs of seepweed, mole, and shrimps; bacalao, prepared with dried salted cod, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and olives; Christmas salad, made with apples, pineapples, nuts, and sweetened condensed milk; broad bean soup, and nowadays turkey is included in the menu. Buñuelos are the traditional Mexican Christmas dessert, these fried pastries are sprinkled with cinnamon or topped with hot sugar syrup.

#4 New Year’s Eve

During New Year’s eve, a copious dinner is also served, food tends to be similar to the Christmas menu, but more things can be incorporated, like pasta or salad. When the new year enters, people start to eat 12 grapes– one at each of the 12 bell tolls at midnight- making goals or purposes with each grape, for the year to come. As soon as the grapes and cider toasts are finished some actions take place like going to the streets with suitcases so you will travel a lot during the year, or broom the entrance of the house to clean the energy.

#5 The Three Wise Men

The Three Wise Men have traditionally been the most important figures of Christmas in Mexico. They leave gifts for children to find on the Día de Reyes, on January 5th. Children leave their shoes on the windowsill and find them filled with gifts the next morning. On January 6th, families and friends enjoy hot chocolate flavored with vanilla and cinnamon, and Rosca de Reyes, a ring-shaped cake covered with dried fruit hiding inside a baby figurine. Whoever gets the slice of cake containing the tiny figure will give a tamales party on February 2nd, Candlemas Day.

Spending the Christmas Holidays in Mexico can definitely be a magical experience, especially for families with kids. If you want to incorporate a taste of these authentic Mexican traditions into your holiday, don’t hesitate to start planning your trip. Our concierge team is happy to assist you in creating a special holiday experience at our boutique villa resort properties on the beach.

At Mahayana and Zorba, we are always looking to give our guests the most genuine and authentic experience while visiting Tulum. Let us know what you have in mind for the celebrations and we will help to accommodate your wishes!

If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out at

Can’t wait to have you stay with us at our private luxury Villas in Tulum, Mexico.

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